The Wood Anemone (Anemone nemorosa) is one of the loveliest of Britain’s wild flowers. The delicate white blooms have bell-like heads that open to the sun as this one is doing. It’s about 3 cm across. They are also among the earliest spring flowers, carpeting ancient woodlands before the trees come into leaf and make too much shade. The flowers nod in the April breeze, which distinctive habit doubtless inspired their country names of Wind-flower and Grandmother’s Nightcap.
As ever, I am indebted to Richard Mabey and his magnificent (and very large) book Flora Britannica for further intriguing details about this plant.
I found this particular anemone yesterday. It was growing below Windmill Hill, on the edge of the Linden Field. I’d not noticed anemones there before, and the sparse little colony hardly made a carpet. They were also growing under trees that I know have been planted in the last hundred years to commemorate various events associated with the Much Wenlock Olympian Games. Before that, in Victorian times anyway, the field was, well, a field. This, then, presents a bit of mystery.
Mabey says that in Britain the Wood Anemone only very rarely produces viable seed. Instead it spreads by means of its root system, six feet for every hundred years, which is pretty slow going. When you find them, they are thus a pretty good indicator of ancient woodland since they rarely extend beyond these age-old sites. All of which makes me wonder how the little group of Wind-Flowers found its way to the Linden Field. Perhaps they are relic rootstock from times when the ground in question did host ancient tree cover. Mabey suggests that this could be a explanation for the more open-growing colonies now to be found on the limestone pavements of the Yorkshire Dales.
Anyway, however they got there, I was very pleased to see them. More power to their root systems is all I can say. Faster. Faster. We can’t have too many Wind-Flowers.
Anna nominated me for this challenge, so please take a look at her cloud scenes at Una Vista di San Fermo. Also Meg has posted some magnificent Warsaw tree-scapes; Ark at A Tale Unfolds gives us stunning bee and other flying insect shots; while Sylvia at Another Day In Paradise takes the absolute biscuit with parting shots of her erstwhile (too close for comfort) neighbour, alligator Mr. A.
24 thoughts on “Nature Photo ~ Day 3”
Such a lovely flower, Tish. Thanks so much for the pingback. 🙂
You are most welcome, Sylvia.
They come in blue and lemon too, don’t they, Tish? I was taking shots of yellow ones just yesterday that I thought were anemones. 🙂
Blue ones, I’ve seen, though mostly in garden centres, but they do occur in the wild too. Also white with purple streaks. Mabey (rather rudely methinks) describes the yellow ones as ‘garden throw-outs’ – naturalized from European species. I’ve never seen a yellow one so will welcome your pix if you post them.
My Dad’s naturalised. 🙂 I’ll ping you if I post them.
Excellent. Nothing like a good ping.
lovely ‘nature table’ subject Tish 🙂 assume they are thus named because as such they are gone with the wind – heralds of spring which soon vanish with the enclosing canopy. Have never seen them in carpets but maybe I need to seek out ancient woodland (before HS2 and housing developments get there 😮 ) p.s. thanks for the Mabey – one to look out for
Gone with the wind… that’s a lovely image. In later life Elgar fell in love with a younger woman, and apparently right under his controlling wife’s nose. His pet name for this adored one was Wind-flower. A lot of his most passionate music is said to be for her. And yes, Mabey’s Flora is a lovely book – full of good tales.
that was not in Mabey’s book I guess but then you too are a clever clogs 😉 what a romantic association – Elgar liked an enigma!
As they say … I’d rather be a friend than I Wood Anenome.
Lovely photo and some delightful botanical history as accompaniment.
Oh, there were these white flowers in my parents’ garden – which was very ” nature” … So pleased to see again – thank you -:) and also ” milkdrops ” ( gouttes de lait ) , pastel primroses …
Oh I like that name – gouttes de lait. Thank you.
They are delicate little things, I rarely see them, I suppose because I live in a city.
I love the country names, Wind-flower and Grandmother’s Nightcap. Poetically charming, it fits these delicate beauties.
As an intermittent botanizer, it’s always been learning the country names that made it truly interesting to me. Wind-flower is indeed poetic. Names for other plants, especially orchids, can be very very rude 🙂 (but funny).
I think I’m going to have buy Mabey for my northern hemisphere jaunts. I presume he has relevance beyond Britannica. I always enjoy posts composed by you and him. Does he have anything to say about pussy willow? Windflowers in the linden field – how poetic precision can be.
Mabey on pussy willow – also called goat willow and grey willow, and when the male catkins turn yellow they used to be called GOSLINGS. I just know you’ll want to know this. And yes, I imagine much of Britannica will have European relevance – if not in specific varieties then re northern plant families, and it does include trees and shrubs.
Thank you so much. Goslings eh?
I know they could be red, yellow and purple……
The white one is a surprise for me and I love it!
Nice to surprise you 🙂
Love taking walks through the woods in spring, looking for wildflowers, Tish. I never know what I’ll find but each is a surprise,